Dec. 13 -- The following is the text of Vice President Al Gore’s address to the nation, in which he withdrew his claim to the hotly contested 2000 presidential race.
GORE: Good evening.
Just moments ago, I spoke with George W. Bush and congratulatedhim on becoming the 43rd president of the United States — and Ipromised him that I wouldn’t call him back this time.
I offered to meet with him as soon as possible so that we canstart to heal the divisions of the campaign and the contest throughwhich we just passed.
Almost a century and a half ago, Senator Stephen Douglas (ph)told Abraham Lincoln, who had just defeated him for the presidency,“Partisan feeling must yield to patriotism. I’m with you, Mr.President, and God bless you.”
Well, in that same spirit, I say to President-elect Bush thatwhat remains of partisan rancor must now be put aside, and may Godbless his stewardship of this country.
Neither he nor I anticipated this long and difficult road.Certainly neither of us wanted it to happen. Yet it came, and now ithas ended, resolved, as it must be resolved, through the honoredinstitutions of our democracy.
Over the library of one of our great law schools isinscribed the motto, “Not under man but under God and law.” That’s theruling principle of American freedom, the source of our democraticliberties. I’ve tried to make it my guide throughout this contest asit has guided America’s deliberations of all the complex issues of thepast five weeks.
Now the U.S. Supreme Court has spoken. Let there be no doubt,while I strongly disagree with the court’s decision, I accept it. Iaccept the finality of this outcome which will be ratified next Mondayin the Electoral College. And tonight, for the sake of our unity ofthe people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession.
I also accept my responsibility, which I will dischargeunconditionally, to honor the new president elect and do everythingpossible to help him bring Americans together in fulfillment of thegreat vision that our Declaration of Independence defines and that ourConstitution affirms and defends. Let me say how grateful I am to all those who supported meand supported the cause for which we have fought. Tipper and I feel adeep gratitude to Joe and Hadassah Lieberman who brought passion andhigh purpose to our partnership and opened new doors, not just for ourcampaign but for our country.